Chasma - Codex Contellatia
The Path Less Traveled Records
Post Black Metal
5 songs (43:56)
Release year: 0
Reviewed by Neill

Chasma are a Portland, Oregon based black metal band. This is their second album, originally released in 2013 on Moribund Records. This is the vinyl version of the album, but having not heard the original release, I am not sure how much the sound was changed or manipulated for this format. The three men in the band play their music in a usually slower, more atmospheric way, but have some good fast passages as well, which at times reminds me a lot of Ash Borer. They have some long tracks, broken up by large instrumental sections and pace changes. They would easily fall into the "post" black metal style as opposed to a traditional sound. The album has some really strong aspects, but does fail on a few as well.

The album begins with a softer, slow passage before getting into the track. One thing that I notice instantly is the production. At first, I enjoyed how the album sounded, as it had raw type sound and was not over produced, However, on further listens, this is a big detriment to me. The guitars and drums sound very thin on the record. Some of the beats are not pronounced, and some riffs and melodies seems to be drowned out. Also, I cannot make out any bass on the album. It really makes the album sound weak, and I feel it is a huge downside, because there is some good songwriting here. The vocals on the album are screamed, and in some cases whispered, and sound very agonized. The vocals do make the album feel painful, and I like the vocals for the most part, but once again, the production does not do them much justice. There are also a few samples on the album taken from, I assume, films, but I cannot place them.

That is not to say the production holds the album back entirely. The Burning Shapeless is a great opening track, and does show what the band has to offer. The riffs are impressive and the pace of the song works very well. The slower sections complement the faster sections and the nearly 13 minute track breezes by. The best tracks on the record though are the shorter tracks, Solarsin and the closing Reflections. These tracks really show the band tightening up their ability and making their songs have more impact. A track like Woormwood Horizon really suffers in its length due to long periods of repetition. While repetition is not always bad, the instrumentation is very dull on the track and it could have benefitted greatly by being cut down in length, and really tightening up the overall pace of the track. There is also an interlude track, Forbidden Symmetry which leaves me torn. I appreciate the break in the album, but the track to me is uninteresting. The sample is hard to make out at times, and the music behind it just does nothing for me. The track could have been taken out entirely and I don't think the pace or structure of the album would be compromised.

I was very much into this record when I first heard it. However, and as stated prior, subsequent listens have really shown me some flaws this album has. The song writing is strong most of the time, but I do feel some more restraint in the longer passages would do the band good. When the songs are kept short (in comparison) and tight, they are very, very good songs. The album has a good flow from one track to the next, and there are some really good moments on the album. To me, the production does hinder this a bit as everything sounds so thin to me, but it is still a pretty strong album. Being the band's second release, I feel they still have a lot of time to tighten up and get better, and maybe the next album would be a real show stealer.

Please feel free to sample Solarsin from the album here and see if the album seems worth exploring more to you.

Killing Songs :
Solarsin, Reflections
Neill quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Chasma that we have reviewed:
Chasma - Declarations of the Grand Artificer reviewed by Alex and quoted 70 / 100
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